It will come as no surprise to anyone who has a pet that fireworks frighten our furry friends. Research by The Co-operative Insurance confirms this as it shows that the noises associated with the fireworks celebrations can cause pets to behave erratically. Over a third of pets hide as a reaction to firework noise (34%) and pet owners have witnessed their dog bark continually (27%) and a quarter have seen pets cower away from noise.
With many pets expected to fret as fireworks fizz, here’s some advice to keep keep pooches playful, cats calm and other pets placid.
1. Before the fireworks, create a safe and comfortable environment for your pet like a “den” where they will know that they are safe.
2. Walk your dog during the day in advance of the expected firework fun itself. If that’s not possible, ensure that you walk your dog in a familiar area, which it knows well.
3. While the fireworks are on outside keep all pets inside, including those who normally live outside, such as rabbits. However, if your pet is not used to coming indoors, then you may be better ensuring they are tucked up tight in their own environment, and covered over with a blanket so they aren’t scared by flashes.
4. Make sure that all doors and windows are securely locked, so that no pets escape.
5. Inside the house shut all curtains, play background music or have the TV on, which will both distract and reassure your pet.
6. If you have horses, get them in early to their stable, tucked up with enough food to keep them going for the night.
7. Don’t forget fireworks often start early for some, and finish late for others, so you need to ensure your pet will feel safe and secure for the whole evening.
Vet, Matt Brash, says: “As a vet I see lots of problems among pets related to the letting off of fireworks, whether it is at Bonfire night, New Year’s Eve or any other celebration. Dogs especially are very sensitive to the noise that fireworks make, but cats, rabbits, even horses and hamsters can be alarmed and frightened. Of course they don’t understand what is going on, and it is even more confusing when their owners start behaving oddly.
“One of the more common problems we see on fireworks night is an injured dog, who has spent the evening destroying the furniture in the house, as well as hurting themselves, as they scrabble in panic and fear.
“You can try to train your pets to not be afraid of fireworks at all. With training, using aids such as a desensitisation CD, for example may sound scary, but you can get them used to the loud bangs and crashes that go with fireworks. This takes time and a lot of patience, but is worth it for them and you.”